(By University of Regina Sports Information)
REGINA – The University of Regina's men's basketball team outlasted Winnipeg for an 80-78 victory on Saturday night at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport.
Saturday's game wasn't settled until the final possession. With Winnipeg trailing 79-78, the Wesmen's Narcisse Ambanza found William Sesay with a nice pass amidst a sea of Regina defenders. Sesay's contested layup didn't fall and while Ambanza grabbed the offensive rebound, Denzel Lynch-Blair's attempt from the lane that followed also rimmed out and Regina's Shaquille Harris was finally able to come down with the rebound to seal the win.
Fittingly on Senior Night, the Cougars were led by a pair of fifth-year seniors. Brandon Tull led the way with 20 points for Regina, while Brian Ofori had a big double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Fellow fifth-year player Alex Igual also had a strong game for the Cougars, finishing with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Shawn Lathan and Shaquille Harris also hit double figures for Regina with 14 points and 10 points, respectively.
Two Winnipeg players had a double-double in the loss, including Sean Tarver with 23 points and 15 rebounds and Lynch-Blair with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ambanza and Sesay both finished with 14 points.
While Friday's game saw a wild finish with several lead changes down the stretch, the Cougars led the entire way after retaking the lead following Tarver's game-opening bucket. But that doesn't tell nearly the whole story, as Winnipeg fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit and the Cougars led by only a single point going into the fourth. Regina again went back up by 10 early in the fourth, only to see Winnipeg come back and make it a one-possession game with a three-point play by Tarver. Winnipeg got back to within one point with a Lynch-Blair layup and had an opportunity to take the late lead following a defensive stop, but that's when the Cougars were able to survive the chances by Sesay and Lynch-Blair to come away with the win.
Winnipeg (8-10) will look to lock up a playoff spot next weekend as the Wesmen host UBC Okanagan (2-16) on Friday and Saturday. The Cougars will make the short trip north to Saskatoon to finish off the Canada West schedule against a Saskatchewan team that's 9-9, but has won seven consecutive conference games.
NOTES: Tull passed current assistant coach Joel Hunter for fifth place on the U of R's all-time scoring list and pulled into a tie for fourth with Chris Biegler ... Tull will go into his final two conference games with 1362 career points.